MaineGeneral to Launch Guiding Stars® Nutrition Navigation Program to Help Impact Community Health and Wellness

Hospital Joins Local Hannaford Supermarkets to Help Patients, Visitors and Staff Make More Nutritious Food Choices

Guiding Stars, the world’s first storewide nutrition navigation program, announces a partnership with MaineGeneral Health to help patients, visitors and staff identify more nutritious food choices in the hospital. Guiding Stars is also used in local Hannaford grocery stores.

Guiding Stars will rate prepared meals, snacks and grab-and-go items according to their nutritional value in the medical center’s cafeterias and the food served to patients. Each item will receive zero to three stars for an at-a-glance summary of the food’s nutritional quality.

“We are pleased to partner with Guiding Stars because it’s a consumer friendly tool that is already familiar to many local residents and makes it easy to choose healthier foods,” said Paul Stein, MaineGeneral’s administrative director of Support Services. “As a health care organization, we’re committed to improving the health of our patients, visitors and staff, and this is one more way to strengthen that commitment in our region.”

Guiding Stars uses an algorithm grounded in evidence-based science, and the most current guidelines and recommendations of leading national and international health organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture. The system credits all foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and subtracts for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars. One star means good nutritional value; two stars, better; and three stars the best. If the item doesn’t receive a star, it does not meet the Guiding Stars nutrition criteria.

“This partnership with MaineGeneral Health is another way to impact not only the health of individuals, but public health as well,” said John Eldredge, director of brand and business development at Guiding Stars Licensing Company. “In a setting where wellness is a priority, Guiding Stars will be another tool to help patients, visitors and staff achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

The Guiding Star program is one of many initiatives MaineGeneral has in place to promote healthy food choices. Over the years, MaineGeneral has implemented programs including “Lighter Fare,” which provides balanced meals low in calories and fat, flagged food items on patient menus that are more nutritious, nutritional information provided for prepared menu items and more.

The Guiding Stars program was the first of its kind when implemented in select grocery stores in response to consumer demand for a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutritional choices when they shop. It is used in all local Hannaford grocery stores, and is also available in more than 1,600 supermarkets, public schools, colleges, and on the ReachEverywhere Shopper iPhone application.

About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.

Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious food choices. The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutrition choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars is currently in more than 1,600 supermarkets including Food Lion, Hannaford, Bloom, Sweetbay, Homeland, and Kings Super Market. Guiding Stars has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application. Additional information can be found at

About MaineGeneral Health

The state’s third largest health care system, MaineGeneral Health is an integrated non-profit organization with a range of services which include; a 287-bed acute care medical center with campuses in Augusta and Waterville; a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center which opened in 2007; primary care and specialty physician practices; long term care facilities; rehabilitation, home health care and hospice services; special care for patients with memory loss, community outreach programs and retirement living options. Additional information can be found at